October 17, 2017

Do I Have Depression?

Depression is a common condition, but with many symptoms, risk factors and treatments.  Depression can have many different effects on an individual level: different people often experience different symptoms, and can even respond differently to similar treatments.  Because of the many aspects of this condition, many people ask themselves, “Do I have depression?”

The following checklist can help you determine if your symptoms are related to depression:

1.  You often feel sad, and/or experience feelings of hopeless and helplessness.

2.  You’ve experienced a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

3.  You’ve experienced difficulty in maintaining relationships with friends and family members.

4.  You often feel anxious, irritable, angry and/or aggressive.

5.  You abuse drugs or alcohol, or use these substances to self-medicate your symptoms.

6.  You have trouble concentrating, and often have trouble completing tasks or assignments.

7.  You feel tired often, and have experienced a change in sleeping patterns.

8.  You’ve experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Some people have an increased risk of developing depression.  However, it’s important to note that many individuals with no risk factors experience depression; likewise, those at risk for depression often suffer no symptoms at all.

The following factors can help determine if you are at risk for depression:

1.  You have a family history of depression, and one or more immediate family members has been diagnosed with this condition.

2.  You have recently experienced emotional trauma, such as the death of a loved one.

3.  You abuse drugs or alcohol.

4.  You are female.

5.  You have recently experienced a lifestyle change, such as marriage, the birth of a child, or a divorce or separation.

6.  You are the victim of past or present physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

7.  You are experiencing a shift in hormones due to the birth of a child, menopause or adolescence.

8.  You have been diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

The assessment of symptoms and risk factors can be of great benefit in determining the presence of depression.  Early recognition and treatment of symptoms can increase the odds of overcoming depression, and can also prevent serious complications, such as suicide or other harmful behaviors.

If you are suffering from the symptoms of depression, you should seek treatment as soon as possible: the sooner you seek help, the sooner you will find relief.

 

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